My first sprint distance triathlon race of the season was a couple of weeks ago in Cardiff. You can check out this blog to see how I prepped for the event. For now though, here’s a race debrief.
Race Day Prep
My race started at 8:20, so I only had weetabix to eat that morning. I got to the event for about 7am, as we had to be out of transition by 7:30.
I never look at the start list before a race, as it makes me nervous and tends to psych me out. I prefer to just focus on what I’m doing and nothing else.
If you’re fairly new to triathlon and open water swimming, then Cardiff triathlon is a great inaugural event. It has a really wide start (so minimal pushing and shoving), and it’s an easy course to follow.
The swim went well enough in an honourable time of 12’07. I was hoping for a slightly faster swim based on my Greater Manchester Swim result, but several athletes commented that it was longer than the standard 750m (roughly 800m long).
Fun Fact: Did you know that there’s a plus or minus 10% margin on race distances and they’re still considered legal?
The Bike: A Congested Course
Though a qualifier for a draft legal race, Cardiff triathlon was non-drafting this year. This initial route had been 2x10km laps. Unfortunately, they had to close part of the road due to a public incident, so the course became 4x5km laps. Despite making the laps much shorter, and consequently making the course much more congested, the non-drafting rule was still in place.
I’m not going to sugar coat it; the bike course was lethal. With thousands of athletes bunched together on a very technical course with lots of corners and 180 degree turns, it was pretty brutal.
The only advantage though, was that I always had someone to chase. I was so focused on finding a way through the crowd that I never had time to think about being tired. In the end, I shaved over 4 minutes off my bike leg compared to last year!
The run at Cardiff triathlon is a great one. It’s an easy 2.5km out, then 2.5km back along the bay. I felt good here too and just focused on zigzagging others on the course. I actually crossed the line thinking I should maybe have pushed harder on the run (I was afraid to because of how empty my stomach felt). Amazingly though (I actually couldn’t believe it!), I set a new 5km PB. I beat my previous record by 69 seconds in a time of 19’58. Woo! I finally went sub 20!
Overall, I felt really strong throughout the whole race at Cardiff triathlon. I kept pushing the pace, looking to go out hard. Looks like training has paid off!
My overall time was 1’10’32 which is over 6 minutes faster than last year. I also beat my dad, who crossed the finished line in one hour 12 minutes, 20 seconds faster than last year. I also qualified for the Edmonton World Championship in 2020. I’m not going to lie, I was living on a high for the following few days.
I don’t really believe in rest. I do, however, believe in recovery. After a race, I always like to stretch out my muscles and massage them with muscle cream. The next morning, I’ll go for a chilled jog to loosen up my legs and get rid of any tiredness. Dad and I did a 40 minutes race at a 5’45 pace.
By Tuesday, I was back in the pool and training was in full swing! Bring on the next race…